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Greece: Heineken’s "Cash Cow" subsidiary company

By: BMG Editor/vs

Jul 15, 2010  

(beveragemanager.net) – The small brewing companies have to put up a fight for a place on the supermarket shelves and struggle to earn a small fragment of the 92% market share owned by multinationals Heineken and Carlsberg. Heineken and Carlsberg control the greek market through their subsidiary companies, Athenian Brewery (Heineken, Amstel) and Mythos Brewery and reap a high profit margin which is secured by the high retail price of beer in Greece.

For instance, the Dutch consumer pays less for an Amstel beer in Rotterdam even though consumption tax (alcohol tax) in Holland is 33 euro per 100 litres, double than in the Greek market. At the same time, the consumption tax in Italy is 28 euro per 100 litres, in Turkey 64 euro and in Bulgaria 23 euro.

A senior consultant with "Triple Value Strategy Consulting" in Hague called the company a "cash cow" (a money producing machine), due to the high profits that the Greek market secures to the Athenian Brewery.

According to the Dutch agency, the total added value of the Athenian Brewery business operations (with a turn over of 435 million euro in 2007 and profits before tax of 109 million euros) is estimated at 1,492 million euro (the financial effect of workers, suppliers, distributors, consumers, advertising agencies and government bodies included). The beer market was concentrated even further following the takeover (with the overwhelming agreement majority of Scottish & Newcastle shareholders) of Scottish & Newcastle by the Carlsberg-Heineken consortium in 2008. As a result the European market was divided into"influence areas". The ownership of S&N companies in France, Greece (Mythos), Russia, China and Vietnam was transferred to the Danish Carlsberg. Today, multinational companies control over 90% of the market (Athenian Brewery 82% and Mythos Brewery 6-8%).

In 2008, after the Heineken-Carlsberg-S&N agreement and the ownership of Mythos being transferred to the consortium, the small Greek producers attempted to put up a common front and demand better entry and distribution terms for their products at the retail points. It must be noted, that over the last years the Hellenic Competition Commission is investigating numerous complains from businessmen, merchants and shop owners reporting exclusion of their products from retail points and unfair competition.

 

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